M.A. Journalism Studies Emphasis

About the Program

The M.A. in journalism with a journalism studies emphasis concentrates on the news media as an academic discipline that focuses on the nature and effects of journalism in a global society. Students explore international media models, media law, ethics, digital media, journalism history and the effects of media coverage on contemporary societies around the world. This 33-unit program is an alternative for students who are interested in pursuing a doctoral program and entering academia rather than in acquiring the professional skills offered in the skills-oriented option.

The school’s rich assortment of courses that survey international journalism makes Journalism Studies an attractive option for students interested in the role of global news media.

Curriculum

The option is very flexible, and programs can be tailored to meet your career goals and personal interests. Besides the journalism courses listed below, you are encouraged to enroll in relevant courses in colleges, schools or departments outside the School of Journalism (with permission). Several graduate students in journalism, for example, usually enroll in the Mideast Media course offered by the Department of Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

Course Requirements

You must complete a minimum of 33 units, including a thesis, to graduate. The curriculum consists of four required courses, three highly recommended courses and four electives. Full-time students can complete the requirements in two years.

No 400-level credits will be accepted toward graduate degrees. All course work will be based on graduate-level work. Credits earned in the 500-level section of a co-convened course (400/500) will be accepted toward graduate degrees.

Required Courses

  • Complete four courses (12 units)
  • You can choose to complete either a master's project (JOUR 909) or thesis (JOUR 910)
This course introduces graduate students to the major theories related to the critical study of the media. Fieldwork may include publication of conclusions. Requirements include a major research paper.
Basic legal concepts for media in an international and U.S. context, including access to courts, public records and meetings; subpoenas and shield laws; prior restraint; libel; privacy; source confidentiality; intellectual property; obscenity; and broadcast regulations.
Students will be exposed to qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as historical and legal research, media analysis, content analysis, in-depth interviewing and discourse analysis.
Individual study or special project or formal report thereof submitted in lieu of thesis for certain master's degrees.
Research for the master's thesis (whether library research, laboratory or field observation or research, artistic creation, or thesis writing). Maximum total credit permitted varies with the major department.

Highly Recommended Courses

  • Complete 9 units
  • Some courses are offered only occasionally
Analysis of ethical theory and how it relates to journalists' roles and responsibilities in a democratic society. Case studies involve questions of bias, accuracy, privacy and national security. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper examining a major ethical issue and providing a critique regarding how the media covered the issue.
The course explores the evolution of U.S. journalism and its intersection with American politics, economics, and culture. Students will read original primary published sources as well as secondary historical works and develop skills in historical research methods. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper suitable for presentation at an academic conference or publication in a scholarly journal in the field.

Plus a global course from list of electives.

Electives

  • Complete 12 units
  • Some courses are offered only occasionally
  • Other courses in journalism or outside the School may be taken with permission
This course will investigate the interplay between terrorism around the world and media content about terrorism. It will focus on how news media portray terrorism and terrorists, and the effects of terrorism and media portrayal of terrorism on the public. While many of the assigned readings are about terrorism in the United States, including the 9/11 attack, perspectives from countries around the world are also explored. Students should keep up-to-date with developments in terrorism around the world, primarily through news reports. If events related to the course occur, be sure to bring the real-world perspectives into class discussions. Please note that some of the readings for this class will be challenging. Several explore academic theories and/or utilize complex statistical data analysis. While background in theory or data analysis can be helpful, no special knowledge is necessary to understand the material overall. Graduate-level requirements include an extensive research paper on a topic related to media and terrorism. The final product will be a 15 to 20-page paper that will account for 30% of the final grade.
This class will examine the law of digital communications, including but not limited to freedom of expression and information online, cybersecurity, intellectual property, cooperation/collaboration, libel, privacy, hate speech, FCC and other regulatory mechanisms. This course will teach you how to follow the current law as you engage with digital communications, such as the Internet and mobile devices. While you will learn historical and theoretical foundations of the law of digital communications, you primarily need to concern yourself with making professional, ethical, and legal decisions as a citizen about digital communications, in an international context. From issues ranging from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to cyberbullying, we will think about the long-term implications of digital communications law and our decisions. Graduate students will write a research paper on an access issue, minimum 25 pages double-spaced (best papers are 25-40 pages) worthy of conference presentation.
Through historical, economic and political exploration of a country or the region, this course will provide students with an understanding of current events in the Middle East and of the challenges journalists face reporting from a region with competing narratives, authoritarian regimes, and sporadic or ongoing conflict. Graduate students are expected to read additional and more complex materials provided by the professor (in the schedule listed as Optional and For Grad Students - some require memos). They will also occasionally meet for additional sessions with the professor. In addition, they will be required to complete an in-depth country report on or a research paper on a specific element relating to international journalism, worth an additional 20% of their total grade. Graduate-level requirements include reading additional and more complex materials provided by the professor (in the schedule listed as Optional and For Grad Students - some require memos). Grad students will also occasionally meet for additional sessions with the professor. In addition, they will be required to complete an in-depth country report on or a research paper on a specific element relating to international journalism, worth an additional 20% of their total grade.
This class will give students the lay of the land for journalists and others working in information and content in Washington DC. Students will learn about Washington media, past and present. They'll learn about how members of Congress and their staffs do their jobs. Federal agencies, laws, and policymaking will be examined. Students will explore how different interest groups, PACS, lobbyists, and others operate, as well as how to make sense of all of the voices. Graduate students will conduct research throughout the semester on a topic that involves an intersection of professional practice, historic DC events and journalism ethics. Students will conduct a literature review to begin, then with the instructor select which materials will be used for the final project. Students will produce a paper and a class presentation.
Analysis of ethical theory and how it relates to journalists' roles and responsibilities in a democratic society. Case studies involve questions of bias, accuracy, privacy and national security. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper examining a major ethical issue and providing a critique regarding how the media covered the issue.
The course will focus on access to government records and meetings. From the perspective of the journalist acting on behalf of the people in a democracy, it will look at the benefits and harms caused by access to government information. Graduate-level requirements include the research paper being twice as long as the undergrad. It is expected to be of graduate-level quality, and pose a suitable research question that could lead to a later study.
Science is one of the most powerful forces of change in the world. This discussion course introduces students to the professional, legal, economic and ethical factors that affect the science news agenda and the work of science journalists. We'll study the principles of science journalism, the scientific process and the differences between science journalism and science communication. We'll examine reporting methods used by print, television and online news organizations. Guest speakers -- prominent science journalists and scientists -- will explore the ways in which science news both reflects and influences the attitudes of the public and policymakers. Readings, case studies and discussions will look at issues of balance, scientific uncertainty, accuracy and ethical codes for science journalists. Graduate-level requirements include longer response papers and a longer research paper.
Students will gain an understanding of best practices and challenges specific to reporting in the borderlands, and will conduct research in and about the border region, including interviews with area residents. They will report findings in the form of essays, oral histories, research projects and in-depth reporting projects. Graduate students are expected to take on a leadership role in the class and from time to time will be assigned to lead class discussions. Graduate students may also be assigned additional readings and duties, such as increased research, writing, and organizing responsibilities.
How international media cover conflicts and other humanitarian crises, focusing on the Arab/Muslim world. Understanding of the business and culture of global news organizations. Graduate-level requirements include more extensive research and papers.
This course will examine the history and development of U.S. press coverage of Latin America. Graduate-level requirements include a longer research paper and leading a class discussion.
This course is about understanding the world as a journalist, an international specialist or an informed citizen. It teaches how foreign correspondents gather news and examines factors that shape the global exchange of information. Graduate-level requirements include a higher standard of quality than undergrads. Grad students meet for a short session with the professor each week to discuss more theoretical issues or to examine international news items in more depth. Assignments 1. Will be required to read at least two books from the list (on D2L) or of their choosing ¿run it by the professor ¿ and write short reflective book reports (format on D2L). Due anytime before the last class. (10 percent each) AND 2. Will write an additional, short analytical research paper on a specific facet of either media coverage of, or international reaction to some aspect of your beat (3000 words). OR, will do a reporting/writing project focusing on some aspect of a refugee group here in Tucson. Must be of publishable quality. Consult early with the professor on the topic.

Suggested Schedule

Below is a suggested schedule to ensure a logical progression from course to course, based on when courses are usually offered. A few graduate elective courses are also sometimes offered in winter and summer sessions. See the full list of courses for more information.

First Year

Fall Semester

  • JOUR 508 Journalism Theory and Practice (3 units)
  • JOUR 539 Ethics and the News Media (3 units)
  • Elective (3 units)

Spring semester

  • JOUR 509 Media Law and Ethics (3 units)
  • JOUR 589 Research Methods (3 units)
  • Elective (3 units)

Second Year

  • JOUR 909 Project or JOUR 910 Thesis (3 units)
  • Electives (up to 12 units)